Monday, October 18, 2010

Thumpdaddy / October 17 / Smiling Skull

Turn down Union Street. Keep walking straight until you think you’ll get raped. Then keep going, you’re in the right place. Turn into sketchy biker bar. Fight past the townies and get your groove on because Thumpdaddy is in the house.

Thumpdadddy’s been groovin’ for decades and it’s easy to see why George Clinton jammed with him back in the day. The man is a funk titan and the band ain’t bad either.

They took the stage, sporting hats the belles of the Kentucky Derby would covet, and knocked out the best “Mrs. Jackson” cover Athen’s has ever heard. After a short “pause for a good cause," a.k.a Thumpdaddy's meeting and greeting with the crowd, they launched into the main set sequence. The show started out slow, as these things often will, but get enough PBR into those kids in plaid and they get down with their bad selves. “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” lightened the mood and from there the revelry never stopped.

By the end of the night, The 'Skull had erupted into a giant dance party. Both feeling and smelling funky, the crowd requested encore after encore until Thumpdaddy could thump no longer. And we ACRNies were lucky enough to walk away with a free C.D. from the hands of Thumpdaddy himself. It will display prominently in the station... after visits to each of our laptops.

--Amanda Norris, Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jones for Revival, Rootstand & Elemental Groove Theory / October 9, 2010 / Jackie O's

Welcome to the world of jam bands. At Jackie O’s on Saturday night, Rootstand and Jones for Revival played long jam sessions oriented to groove in their own transcending styles.

Rootstand, a band from Michigan, blended their own version of hip-hop, celtic, and bluegrass music together to form an all-out hootenanny in Jackie O’s main bar. While parents and their children celebrated Parent’s Weekend with a drink or ten, Rootstand played two separate one-and-a-half hour sets. Keeping the feet stomping and the hips shaking, they covered Johnny Cash, The Doors, and many more while still keeping their own songs flowing. Brant Losinski, the band's singer/guitarist said, “I love coming to Jackie O’s and the atmosphere here in Athens.”

Jones for Revival, a band from Youngstown, kept the crowd largely entertained in Jackie O’s Public House. The band's mixing their indie-acoustic jam style set an the mood for an intriguing night, to say the least. As their set played on, they showed that they could jam with the best of them and the crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy what singer/guitarist Jimmy DeCapua was dishing out. Singing tales of leaving Ohio for better things and the emotions that go along with it, DeCapua seemed to have a real resentment towards his hometown of Youngstown.

The real surprise of the night came late as Elemental Groove Theory took the stage and not only drew in a crowd, but had them grooving all night. Many people wandered into Jackie O’s Public House late on Saturday and found EGT jamming better than they may have ever done. With astounding vocals and a flowing chorus of instruments EGT captured the crowd and drew some of the attention away from Rootstand next door.

As the night winded down, all three acts seemed more interested in starting their nights than sticking around. All-in-all it was a great show more than worth the $3 fee to get in.

--Brian Bound, Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Films of Tom Comerford / The Athena / October 2

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Mr. Tom Comerford. Tom is an original jack-of-all-trades, master of -- well -- all. Trained in sculpture, performance, and the classics, Tom has embarked on an influential series of films depicting not only the landscape of our nation's past, but the steadily decaying landscape of the present. His work has been screened at such venues as the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, San Francisco Cinematheque, and the London Film Festival. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Tom travels with his band Kaspar Hauser and rocks the socks off of the Mid-West and Eastern United States.

At his screening at the Athena on October 2, 2010, Tom showed three of his films: Dèpart (2000), Land Marked Marguette (2005), and his latest masterpiece, The Indian Boundary Line (2010).

Initially, I had no clue what to expect. All I knew was that I was surrounded by School of Film TA’s and note-takers. When the lights turned off and the first film began, a blind man could probably smell the anticipation seeping through my pores. The first film, Dèpart, was shot on a homemade pinhole camera at a train station in Iowa City, Iowa. Accompanied by screeching static and a distorted French narration by a man recalling life on the tracks. It was reminiscent of the Lumiere Brothers and their 1895 masterpiece L'Arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat, or simply Train Leaving the Station. Watching that film showed me that Comerford was the real deal. The next two films came on a jet-pack fueled by irony. Their focus was basically how much of American civilization has discarded the vast history of our Native American roots (sorry Pocahontas) in the form of spray paint, plastic, and cement.

Just a couple scenes worth mentioning: In one comedic scene, Tom and a couple of friends dress up in dollar store Halloween department quality Jesuit regalia and retrace the same route down the Chicago Portage that Marquette and Louis Jolliet canoed in 1673. Except in Comerford’s addition, the “settlers” are discovering not a world of newfound beauty and nature, but one of stagnate water and large, run-down, graffiti-covered buildings. One must think: Is our past so far behind us that it can’t be reenacted without hearing a roar of laughter from the audience? Tom’s answer is yes. There are constant scenes of the future, and how it is suffocating our past like Lou Ferrigno suffocates, well, anything he puts his hands on.

The other was a scene of a young child playing on a playground that lies on what used to be the Indian Boundary Line (now Rogers Avenue). Sure, watching a cute little guy explore a big new world is entertaining, but there was a much deeper message. The point is that we children of the future are born into a world that we know nothing about. We did not help create it, explore it, or institutionalize it. We are simply, here. So living today is similar to a child's playing in a playground. We wander around aimlessly, curiously, and neglectfully. There are traces of our nation's landscape, but they lie in the hands of graffiti-ridden informational signs and plastic beaches of garbage.

-Samuel Sloma, Staff Writer

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Monolithic Cloud Parade, Scubadog and She Bears / Casa Cantina / September 30

There are nearly too many events that were squeezed into Thursday night: So many that I can hardly wrap my mind around them clearly or cohesively. I’ll do my best, though, to collect from my weary memory what I can.

At about 10:30 we entered Casa, only to greet a nearly finished Monolithic Cloud Parade. To that I said “crap.” They were really great for that last song-and-a-half I heard. They seemed like a motley crew, but their sound was perfectly unified. It’s such a shame that I didn’t see them long enough to come up with very many ways to describe them. But if you were there, you know.

Dear Lord, Scubadog was absolutely a blast. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed them more because of the incredibly ridiculous inclusion of the audience, the performance itself, the humor and the absurdity of it all. The band said so many silly things. I laughed so hard so much.

In celebration of Rocktober, Scubadog had treats for the crowd. Every once in a while during their set, they would break into that song that marching bands play before every victorious event in a football game. When it came for the crowd to join in, we yelled, “Hey! Free Meat!” and up over heads and arms flew mini beef jerky pieces. The lucky ones who caught one celebrated as if they had caught the fly ball at a baseball game. Unfortunately, he didn’t throw any to the side of the stage where I had taken my place.

The whole situation was enjoyed so thoroughly by the band and everyone else. When they ran out of meat, the lead singer was super apologetic, as if he ran out of grants to heaven. “Hey, I’m really sorry about the meat situation guys.” It was such a humorously sincere apology.

Their set was outrageous. They played their instruments so robustly, with fingers bouncing all over the fret board for mad solos of sorts. My hands turned blue just from watching them. They even rocked out so hard that the lead singer’s shoes came off. With that, he said something along the lines of, “you know you’re rocking out when your shoe comes off.” They also played some new songs that were intricate and exciting to listen to. I hope their album comes along quickly.

There was so much more banter from everyone. It’s just too hard to put it all together into one page of recollection. But all in all, it was a hilarious thing to watch. I was perpetually smiling or dancing, or both. Usually both.

We intended to leave before She Bears came on, only because it was getting to be our bedtime. But, it so happened plans worked out otherwise and I was able to see a good amount of She Bears’ set.

Not that they were ever terrible at all before, but they sounded a lot better this night. I think it was because I could clearly hear Steven’s singing, which can sometimes be an issue. Their songs, even the old ones, sounded different in some ways, as if they had added more intricacy. The people watching were really into it, dancing together, spinning around, and nodding heads.

Everyone in all of Casa was satisfied.

Before leaving, I was standing outside waiting around to leave. A person who I suppose we would classify as a “townie” came up to me and started showing me his tattoos that HE apparently did himself. That was mind-boggling to me. He even had a tattoo on the palm of his right hand, and he’s left-handed. He was a hardass to say the least. He told me he had about $1,000 worth of music equipment in Casa and that if any body touched it, he’d kill them. Then he told me: “Anyone who messes with you, I’ll kill em’.”

I said, “Well, gee. Thanks.”

As he was walking away to leave, he said, “That’s just how I am.”

--Hannah Cook, Live Reviews Editor